Grassroots Economic Organizing (GEO) is a decentralized collective of educators, researchers and grassroots activists working to promote an economy based on democratic participation, worker and community ownership, social and economic justice, and ecological sustainability--a "solidarity economy"--through grassroots journalism, organizing support, cross-sector networking and movement-building and the publication of educational and organizational resources.
Since 1991, GEO has edited and printed a bi-monthly publication called GEO Newsletter, providing news, analysis and an open forum on grassroots organizing to build and finance worker- and community-owned, democratically run, solidarity-based, ecologically sustainable enterprises and organizations. In 2007, due to the increasing challenges of print publication and our desire to reach a wider audience, we shifted to an all web-based publication here at www.geo.coop.
GEO is a founding organizational member of the Data Commons Project, a collaborative effort to create a shared, public database of the cooperative economy in North America. We are also a member of the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives, the United States Solidarity Economy Network, and a regular co-sponsor of the Eastern Conference on Workplace Democracy.
We welcome you to this website and invite you to participate! Read, reflect, connect others with these resources, and--best of all--contribute your voice and perspective to this growing movement.
Follow this link to learn more about how you can get involved in GEO's work.
NOTE: As of June 2010, the GEO Collective has drafted a new mission and vision, affirming our commitment to providing a Solidarity Economy New Service (SENS): one place where anyone can go to find a systematically-organized, 24/7, in-depth knowledge base about the US and global solidarity movements. Click here to read more about this excting new chapter for GEO and our movement.
Our work. The primary work of GEO is to create and distribute useful resources--stories, reports, articles, ideas, dialogues, etc.--in the service of building a self-conscious movement for economic democracy and a solidarity economy and culture. This means that much of what we do together is journalistic work. We seek out inspiring and useful stories and information. We solicit and collect articles and other writings by movement thinkers and practitioners. We do interviews and write articles and essays. We coordinate these efforts via our published "issues."
Each issue (beginning in 2008) will have a theme around which the content is organized. An "issue editor" coordinates the creation of each theme issue. Our selection of themes will be oriented towards developing, over time, a systematic body of information about solidarity economy practices, organizations, strategies, and ideas. As the content of various themes evolves on the website, we plan to publish and distribute--in printed form--resource booklets around many of these themes. Possible upcoming themes include "workplace democracy in nonprofit organizations," "sliding-scale pricing for economic justice," "asset-based community development and the solidarity economy," "creative financing for a democratic economy," and more.
Our organization. GEO is organized as a democratic collective. This means that all members of the group share responsibility and decision-making power in the organization, rather than placing these powers in the hands of a single boss, director or board of directors. We act together, collectively, rather than giving or receiving directives from a chain-of-command. Certain collective members do take more active roles in facilitating decisions and communication, and in coordinating various projects. These roles rotate over time, and people with coordinating roles are accountable to the larger collective in their work.
We make decisions by consensus, discussing ideas and proposals until we have found a shared space of agreement. As a small group, our process is relatively informal, though we do have some agreed-upon procedures waiting in the wings if the informal approach falls short.
As collective members, we hold each other to a set of shared responsibilities:
- Share in the overall work of maintaining and building GEO: facilitating collective communication (ie- conference calls, meetings, etc.), managing finances, fundraising, seeking new collective members, spreading the word about GEO to the wider world, etc.
- Participate actively as editors and/or writers of new material, or in other work that is important to the working of the group (website work, fundraising, outreach, etc.). Also, seeking & collecting articles and other new materials for the website.
- Participate in decisions about the work and trajectory of GEO, including discussions about the selection of website content and issue "themes" and the development of the website.
- Build one-on-one relationships with individual new volunteers ("mentorships") as a way of welcoming them into the collective, identifying their strengths and skills, developing their sense of our work togther, and helping them to integrate into the collective process and culture.
Who we are. Members of GEO are scattered all over, from northern Mexico to southern Maine. We work as a network of collaborators, communicating by email, phone, and occasional face-to-face meetings.
Current active members of the collective are:
- Ajowa Nzinga Ifateyo (Washington, D.C.)
- Annie McShiras (Brooklyn, NY)
- Cheyenna Weber (Manhattan, NY)
- Christina Clamp (New Hampshire)
- Elizabeth Bowman and Bob Stone (Mexico)
- Ethan Miller (Maine & Australia)
- Joe Marrafino (Ithaca, NY)
- Jessica Gordon Nembhard (Washington, D.C./New York)
- Jim Johnson (Washington, D.C.)
- John Lawrence (New York, NY)
- Ken Estey (New York)
- Len Krimerman (Connecticut)
- Michael Johnson (Staten Island, NY)
- Marty Heyman (Port Washington, NY)
- Lazri DiSalvo (Storrs, Connecticut)
- In memoriam: GEO co-founder Frank Lindenfeld
Joining GEO. We are always excited to have new people join the collective. Our process for this is also somewhat infomal. Most people who join GEO begin by volunteering as a writer, editor or project co-organizer. After getting to know the members of the collective, they become "collective members" by either asking the collective (in which case the collective has a conversation and decides together based on our experiences of working together with the new potential member) or being invited by the collective.
We seek people who:
- share a commitment to building an economy and society that is just, sustainable and democratic;
- are non-dogmatic in their political approach (ie- embracing a diversity of tactics, strategies and models, rather than single, one-size-fits-all visions);
- are commited to anti-oppression practice at both personal and societal levels;
- are thoughtful and conscientious "cooperators"--who work well with others in a collective process;
- are willing and excited to share their skills with the collective and with the movements we support;
- are reliable in their commitments;
- and who are willing to committ to the shared responsibilities of being a collective member.
Please email us if you have any questions or would like to join the GEO team!
Support GEO - Buy Printed Copies of Back Issues
GEO is a volunteer-run collective and relies on your generosity. We make our content free but also sell printed back issues in our store - each full of of grassroots documentation from activists and innovators.
All purchases help fund GEO, a volunteer-run collective project of the Ecological Democracy Institute of North America.